Thursday, November 06, 2014

Musings... The Best Toilet at Work

The best toilet at work is the one that no one uses. Yes, I'm so out of ideas that I'm resorting to toilet humor -- not really. In my two dozen or so years alive on this planet, I have learned a thing or two about public toilets. The only one that matters is the one about not using a public toilet unless absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, when one spends eight or so hours in one place, it becomes a near absolute necessity to utilize a public work washroom.

Forced Civility
Work washrooms, luckily, are somewhat better than the truly "public" restrooms such as those found in malls or bus stations. They usually serve a smaller "customer base" for one. And since most people seem to want to keep social relationships somewhat cordial at their home way from home, the type of stuff that flies is more restrained.

Potential Design Issues
That's not to mean that I haven't experienced bad work washrooms. There was one place where I spent a couple years in the same building. For the first few years, washrooms on every floor reeked of stale urine, probably because people were missing the bowl. Waterless urinals were also being used on every floor. From what I've read or been told, they aren't supposed to smell. What I do know is that once the toilets and waterless urinals were replaced with low-flow fixtures, the terrible smell that persisted in each floor's bathroom through the day, for the few years I was there, disappeared -- Monday mornings were the worst.

In addition, there was at least one guy who decided to throw paper towels, a lot of them, in the toilet bowls. They obviously overflowed every now and then. The toilets themselves malfunctioned every now and then for other reasons, overflowed, and flooded the floor. Then there were the "all over the toilet seat" people and the "someone will flush it for me" crew.

Finding the Best Toilet
The best toilet at two places that I worked was the one that the fewest people used. They were so little used that I could hide in there for half an hour at a time -- not that I did -- and not have anyone else come in. I stumbled upon the first one by accident. It was the one on the floor with the mailroom and more sparsely populated office area. The second one I found because I had to work on that floor for a year. Let's just say the male-to-female ratio on the floor was heavily biased in one direction. On top of that, the predominantly male part of the office spent a lot of time off-site, and another 90% male section moved to another floor.

Even after I stopped working on the floor, I kept going back to that floor because it was the cleanest and least used. People started wondering what I was doing down there on a near daily basis.

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